After Kevin Durant, some would consider Toronto Raptors wing DeMar DeRozan the next best available free agent. While rumors were linking DeRozan to the Lakers at one time, it has since become clear that DeRozan prefers to remain with the Raptors.
DeRozan’s preference to stay with the Raptors was so strong that the seven-year veteran reportedly was not even planning to take meetings with any other teams. That may not quite be the case, however.
According to Chris B. Haynes of Cleveland.com, the Lakers are one of a number of teams who could potentially get a meeting with DeRozan once free agency commences:
Toronto granted first meeting with DeMar DeRozan in LA on July 1, sources tell @clevelanddotcom. Miami, Dallas, Philly, Lakers could follow.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 30, 2016
This development does not necessarily mean that DeRozan won’t re-sign with the Raptors. In fact, it is possible that the two sides come to an agreement immediately, and the Lakers never get a chance to speak with him as was initially expected.
However, the fact that there now seems to be a possibility of a meeting would appear to indicate that the Lakers may be in the picture should things with the Raptors go bad. DeRozan is a Compton native and went to school at USC so returning home could appeal to him.
All in all, this probably doesn’t change too much in regards to DeRozan as the Raptors having the first meeting gives them the advantage and there has been nothing to dispel the belief that DeRozan doesn’t want to stay in Toronto.
Though he had a pretty up-and-down playoff run in Toronto, DeRozan enjoyed arguably his best regular season averaging 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game as he was named to his second All-Star Game.